A mix of rugged walking, classic culture and a wealth of wildlife in the Pirin and Rila Mountains
South-western Bulgaria is dominated by two dramatic mountain ranges, the harshly beautiful Pirin with its jagged peaks and chaos of rocks and boulders, and the equally imposing, yet somewhat greener Rila. Both ranges are designated national parks, with exceptionally rich flora and fauna. We begin in the Pirin Mountains, trekking across glacial moraines and high passes, as well as attempting an ascent of Mt Vihren, the second highest summit in the country. Moving on to the Rila, we first enjoy a visit to the breathtaking Rila Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We then cross the range, walking through ancient forests to the glittering glacial lakes for which these mountains are rightly famed. We conclude with an attempt on Musala, the highest peak in south-eastern Europe, before returning to Sofia.
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Glacial lake in Rila (Strashno Ezero)